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Midseason report: Texas A&M

10/16/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas A&M (2-4, 0-2 Big 12): New coach Mike Sherman's season started badly when it squandered a 14-3 halftime lead in a nightmarish season-opening 18-14 home loss to Arkansas State. It has only gone downhill since then as A&M has dropped three home losses before mid-October for the first time in the school's modern era of football. Projected starting quarterback Stephen McGee was injured against New Mexico and has played sporadically since then. The Aggies' defense has struggled mightily against the run, ranking 111th nationally and allowing at least 215 rushing yards in five games. The Aggies rank better than eighth in only one Big 12 team statistical category -- pass defense. And considering how other teams have gashed them in the trenches, few opponents have worried about passing against them very often.

Offensive MVP, Jerrod Johnson: The backup quarterback took the starting job over after McGee was hurt. Despite some early turnover problems, he's showing some strong promise for the future. Johnson set a school record for total offense (487 yards) and became the first player in school history to pass for 400 yards in a game last week against Kansas State. The sophomore figures to get a lot of work during the last half of the season as Sherman builds for next season and beyond.

Defensive MVP, Matt Featherston: Where has the Wrecking Crew gone? Joe Kines' unit has played nothing like those storied defenses of the past, allowing 100 points in their last two games. The best player on the struggling unit has been Featherston, a junior linebacker who leads the team with 50 tackles and has forced a fumble.

What's next: The Aggies will be tested to keep from becoming the A&M team to not win four games since the 1972 team finished 3-8. They will have a couple of chances at winnable games against Colorado and on the road against Iowa State and Baylor. A&M likely needs two victories to keep from skidding into the Big 12 South basement for the first time in school history. Sherman has already started building for the future with freshmen players like Johnson, Jeff Fuller, Evan Eike, Garrick Williams and Tony Jerod-Eddie inserted into the starting lineup. Look for more as the season winds down.